Asymptomatic Symptoms

Earlier this summer, I received a phone call that caused me to drop my glass cup on the floor right before heading into a Bible study. My doctor had called to tell me that the “routine” COVID-19 test I had taken was not so routine and that I had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease. The next few seconds were a blur, and I quickly popped into the Zoom Bible study feeling as if I had been hit with a ton of bricks.

I had COVID-19. What was going to happen to me?

A Positive Diagnosis 

I would be dishonest if I said that the news of the presence of this disease didn’t scare me to my core and steal that night of sleep from me. I felt as if every second was one where I overanalyzed the development of  the sickness for me or within my family. I worried for days after that, thinking about my household. And in the midnight hour, I found myself cracking open my Bible.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Was this virus serious? Yes. Was it scary? You bet. Was it larger than life? Seems like it. But in that moment, I was reminded of the absolute immensity of the God we serve, who in that the little black Bible, on my little white nightstand, on a foggy summer night would cause my index finger and thumb to land on that verse at that time in that place and with this diagnosis. I slept like a baby in the comfort of my king-size bed knowing I have a King-size God who would take care of me.

Asymptomatic Symptoms

For days after that, I waited. And waited. And waited. No symptoms. My doctor said I was “asymptomatic” to the virus, as was my family. Amazing! I praised God for His safety and His protection, which surrounded my family like a fence.

I started to think about that diagnosis: asymptomatic. I had the virus but didn’t have the symptoms. It was still within me, although people couldn’t see or experience it. It just didn’t affect me. Was I COVID-19 positive? Yes. Could anyone tell? No.

I started to think about it—that’s how God sees you and me.

Sometimes, we show our sin in our “symptoms” (deed and word). Those sins and demons are blatant, obvious, and destructive. They tear us down from the outside in.

But most times, our sin is “asymptomatic” (thought). These are the things we think that we never should have thought, things left undone, and biases we have yet to be released from.

A Cure for Sin

Whether we are symptomatic or asymptomatic, we are still in need of a cure—still in need of a Savior. God gives us Himself so intimately and packages Himself as a vaccine; we have no control over the way His Word interacts with the blood cells that course through our spiritual veins, making all things new. He transforms us on this side of heaven to walk closely with Him, and He holds us tight as new creations on the next side of heaven. His cure was provided for us on the cross when He provided us a joyous exchange of faith for failure. He did this to give us confidence of where we belong—with Him.

Hebrews 11:1 states,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

So, we become “asymptomatic” with something else. Though our faith is in things unseen—with His blood coursing through our veins and with His salvation as our promise—our faith in Jesus Christ become infectious.

This virus has us all on edge. Our anxiety is high, and our confidence may be low. However, we can trust the Word of Jesus when He tells us that He is our Rock and salvation—we have nothing to fear. We can have confidence in the faith gift that He gives us. His promises are real. His vaccine has passed the trials.

Take heart in this time. And be asymptomatic as He spreads the faith gift embedded within you.

Scripture: ESV®.

Find clarity in God’s teachings during these unclear times, and find comfort in knowing that He is guiding us all in Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic

Read about the Church and Covid

Picture of Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling
Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling is an LCMS pastor and Lutheran university educator. Dr. Bolling holds a BA in theatre from Concordia University Chicago, an MDiv from Concordia Seminary, and a doctor of education (EdD) degree from Concordia University Wisconsin in leadership, innovation, and continuous improvement. His dissertation was focused on human resource development in under-resourced urban ministry structures of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (How LCMS Pastors Are Developed through Mentorship). Dr. Bolling currently serves in a dual call as pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and as assistant professor of leadership and theology in the online modality and coordinator of multicultural engagement at Concordia University Texas. His passion for urban ministry, education, leadership, nonprofit management, mentorship, diversity/equity/inclusion, and distance learning are all married in this dual call as he serves the saints of Bethlehem and the students of Concordia University Texas simultaneously. Dr. Bolling has also spoken at numerous conferences, on podcasts, and at churches, schools, and events within our church body, reflecting the love of Christ and prodding deeper conversations about deaf, urban, and cross-cultural inclusive ministry. He has taught in half the schools of the Concordia University System, thoroughly realizing the depth of knowledge our Concordia schools have to offer to the world they engage. Dr. Bolling has been married to his beautiful and talented wife, Lorenda, for six years. Lorenda serves as a preschool teacher at Word of Life Lutheran School. Together, they have a four-year-old son named Lincoln and a two-year-old daughter named Monroe. Both children were born in different years but on the exact date—October 5! They currently reside on the south side of St. Louis, Missouri.

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